(a Lenten reflection by Leigh Stovall)
We live in a world of broken promises and lost hope. This past May, Fortune magazine reported: A new study has found that nearly half of all Americans feel lonely— with young people in particular experiencing the brunt of the pain. Health insurer Cigna took a nationwide survey of 20,000 adults and found that 54% of respondents said they feel like no one actually knows them well. Additionally, 56% of people said the people they surround themselves around “are not necessarily with them,” and approximately 40% said they “lack companionship,” their “relationships aren’t meaningful,” and that they feel “isolated from others.”
Loneliness leads to many other problems, but all have a common theme - loss of hope. People are beaten down and battered by life. Their empty eyes reveal their exhaustion. They say they have nothing to live for, no reason for tomorrow. In this broken world, even the faithful can begin to doubt. As Christians, we need to proclaim that God is Immanuel (God with us) and El-roi (God who sees). We need to remember the old hymn which says, “because He lives, I can face tomorrow.”
As we begin the season of prayer, fasting, and self reflection, let us pray for ourselves and for others. Romans 15:13 says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him....” Help us Lord to find hope, to remember the hope we are promised, and to offer hope to others. Hallelujah (meaning God be praised), Amen.
“The opposite of joy is not sadness, it’s hopelessness.” -- Tim Keller